Tale from the Children's Home Pilekvisten written by Head of Department Janni Batsberg Klitgaard
In the staff group we agreed quite quickly that we would be curious about the use of music in our everyday life with the children. Our music instruments, for example, were hidden away and only something we took out at an adult designated activity and not freely available to our children.
We had many curious questions in relation to music in Pilekvisten such as how can we make music activities across age groups, how can we use digital media in relation to music, how do we get the creative aspect into the music eg homemade music instruments, what are the children interested in and how do we see and follow their tracks in everyday life, how do we make music outside and the like.
Therefore, we chose to collaborate with Viggo Steinche, musician and composer in our play art course.
The artistic workshop aroused further curiosity about instruments such as the guitar and the marimba. After the artistic workshop, a staff member who participated in the programme became very interested in the guitar. This quickly led to the purchase of a new guitar (as the one we had was useless, thickly coated with dust, having hung in a storage room for years). Within a short time, one of the educators had learned to play "the little cheeky Frederik" and already then the guitar was being incorporated into the children's learning environment.
Even before Viggo arrived, the nursery staff were busy making an outdoor music wall with recycled pots, pans etc. So instead of having music and singing in the multi room they took the music outside and now the homemade music instruments were freely available for the children when they were in the playground.
During the course of Play Art, staff experienced that there is a difference between following the child's lead and perspective - and not getting too far ahead of the child: "The child was engrossed in playing marimba by standing very still and beating gently over a long period of time. An adult encouraged her to hit a little harder, but then she lost her composure."
Staff saw the children's tracks and perspective in the process:"when we found marimba the children took turns playing. The children were very eager to play and make different sounds. Spontaneously there were children dancing, laughing and holding hands. We experienced some harmonious meeting moments between the children".
The staff have been practising focusing on the children's sounds and experimenting with sounds and making music together - Viggo has inspired this focus: "A boy starts making clicking sounds with his tongue. Viggo caught it quickly and it was coupled to music. So some children made clicking sounds and others sang the rhapsody of the little duck".
The staff has practiced being spontaneous with the children and the music: "The adult got caught up in being spontaneous and started making up a new song herself, with the children's names mentioned in the song." Also: "An adult started making rain sounds on a drum, some children quickly caught these sounds and made a sound reminiscent of it. Everyone had an instrument and made music together around the sound of the rain".
Music leaves its mark on children. I've seen moments in everyday life: " A boy from the nursery goes around saying guitar, guitar, guitar". Furthermore: "A child in kindergarten asks if he can play the drums" - "can I play too, like when Viggo is here". The child is in the oldest group and has not participated in the music programme, but has heard the other children talking about it.
I feel that LegeKunst has set in motion a developmental process among the staff. They have opened their eyes to many new possibilities with music, with collaboration and interaction with each other and the children. The nursery is age divided and in the LegeKunst process I have chosen to bring children together across the two groups. This has given the children new opportunities for play relationships and they have opened their eyes to each other. The staff have worked together across the group and got to know each other much better.
In the third activity with the children, I saw that the collaboration across the rooms and the dissemination of LegeKunst peaked in Pilekvisten. The staff who had been involved in the programme with Viggo - now gathered the other colleagues and children across and made many small music programmes and let their inspiration and knowledge of the programme spread to the rest of the house and become part of everyday life in Pilekvisten.
Staff and children have inspired each other along the way: "A colleague learning to play the guitar, children talking about a gravestone, another colleague writing a song about a gravestone - based on the tune her colleague can play on the guitar".
Melody: the little naughty Frederik
Everyone likes machines
Especially the gravestone, it's nice
It beats all day long
Yes it says bank and bank and bank
It digs with its big shovel
And lift the earth very high
Then it turns and throws it
And start all over again
The digging cow it is very strong
And we've all learned
That the gravestone is very high
And it can make a lot of noise.
Snip snap snout - now the tale is out.....